French Christmas Cookies (Sablés)

Biscuits de Noël

Laurence is one of my best and oldest friends. I met her when I was fourteen, on our first day of high school, and soon we were inseparable, so alike in so many ways that people sometimes mistook us for sisters.

I loved going to her house after school. For one thing, there was a television there, which wasn’t the case at my parents’, so there was always the electrifying prospect of maybe catching one of those shows everyone else was watching at the time.

But aside from that, the house felt like a big happy place: Laurence had two (actual) sisters, and her mother, Christine, took care of small children at home, so there were a lot of comings and goings, conversations, people at the door, and girls shouting things down the stairwell.

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Immune-Boosting Green Smoothie Bowl

You are looking at my current breakfast bliss. Green smoothie bowls have become a favorite of mine, and starting my days with these nutritious, delicious, energy-filled bowls shines a bright winter sunlight on my mornings.

Surely you’ve heard about green smoothies and how they’re taking the Internet world by storm. The idea is to add greens and various superfoods to your fruit smoothies to make them extra good for you, and to give you a headstart on your daily consumption of fresh produce. Beyond the inherent nutritional benefits of the green smoothie, aficionados report a halo effect that steers them toward healthier food choices throughout the day.

I was very tempted to get on board, but I’ve always been more inclined to eat my calories than drink them, so I could never quite warm up to the green smoothie. That is, until I discovered the concept of the green smoothie bowl, wherein you give it a thicker consistency so you can eat it with a spoon and — perhaps more important — sprinkle on all kinds of goodies for added texture.

How to build a green smoothie bowl

There are endless ways you can make a green smoothie bowl, but I typically build mine like this, with an emphasis on immune-boosting ingredients:

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Vegan Chocolate Banana Muffins

The recipe for these vegan muffins is based on this winning vegan coconut banana bread, which I modified to skip the grated coconut, add coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate, and bake in muffin form, with a sprinkle of unrefined sugar so the top part is extra extra desirable.

The texture of these muffins is astoundingly satisfying, moist and tender and chocolate-chunky, the flavors are big and bold, and they are pretty easy to put together, so they are an ideal baking project if you’re pressed for time and energy but mighty hungry.

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Pissaladière (French Onion Tart)

Pissaladière (French Onion Tart)

Photography by Céline de Cérou.

Pissaladière is a specialty from Nice, in the South of France. It’s a thin-crust onion tart topped with black olives and anchovies, baked on a pizza-style dough.

The name comes from pissalat (pee-sah-lah), a Provençal condiment of puréed anchovies, cloves, thyme and bay leaves that used to be spread on the dough before baking. Nowadays, it’s rare for the cook to actually make this condiment; it’s more common to feature the anchovies whole and on top, as I’m showing you here.

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Gâteau de Mamy: My Grandmother’s Apple Cake

G‰âteau de Mamy (French Grandmother's Apple Cake)

Photography by Céline de Cérou.

Le goûter is the afternoon snack kids are given when they come out of school around four. In my family, we called it simply le thé, and it was the highlight of the day. Around five on weekends, somebody would invariably ask, “On fait le thé?”

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